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Everyone’s seen them: those stereotypical blonde bombshells who demand attention just by entering a room. One of those perfectly tanned girls that always has the most fashionable clothes and hangs out with the cutest boys. That person whom people will change their own values to be friends with, just to be pushed aside and still seen as inferior. That girl, that popular “it” girl, is always at least a step ahead of you.
Meet my dance line: seventeen of these girls… and me. While I may be my class president and am friends with literally everyone at my high school, none of this matters at dance class. To them, I’m that weird nerdy girl who doesn’t talk to anyone, never has any fun, and is overly conservative with every aspect of her life. I do see myself as a dork, not a quiet loner one, but just an enthusiastic person with a certain zeal for life. I bring this same attitude to dance as I do to school, yet it is interpreted very differently. It’s strange how my façade can change depending on the people I’m with, yet I don’t change at all. Granted, I’m more outgoing in my school where I’m most comfortable and know I’m liked, but who wants to be overly spunky just to have everyone think they’re a total moron?
I jump around my school’s hallways daily singing random songs that I make up on the spot, and all the students, sixth graders through seniors, are totally accepting and give a friendly wave or smile or even tackle me for a hug. To them, my uniqueness sets me apart and makes me a warm, welcoming person. However, if I did anything like this at dance, all of the girls in their I-paid-way-too-much-for-this-and-I-want-you-to-know-it outfits would give me one of those looks. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about: that look that makes you feel like withering up and hiding in a corner because you did something so completely wrong. I’m very accustomed to these looks painting themselves on the dancers’ perfectly made-up faces. So I’ve learned to quietly, and less obviously, express the fervor that’s itching to get out of me.
Being liked is such a subjective concept. There’s no possible way to be liked by everyone, yet many people, including myself, strive to push past this boundary that’s just impossible to reach. This is why I put up with the girls that I dance with. I may not like them, but I want them to like me, and the only way for that to ever happen is for me to go along with them and try to fit in, although I’m so incredibly different.
I first realized this when my dance line started having parties. I’ve always known that our values were different, but I didn’t know that they were such extreme opposites. The party that I remember in particular took place on St. Patrick’s Day. Up until this point, my dance line’s parties were relatively fun. Of course, I didn’t have anywhere near the amount of fun that I could have had if I would have spent the night with my genuine friends, but they were still stepping in the direction of having a good time. St. Patrick’s Day was a Friday, so we went to one of the girl’s, Andrea’s, house right from dance. Everyone was instructed to bring a snack. I, trying to be agreeable, brought chips to add to the huge spread: apples, brownies, and just about everything. I was a little uncomfortable in the strange house, but I figured that feeling would quickly disappear. I decided to change in to my pajamas to make myself feel a little more at home.
When I came out in my very neutral pajama bottoms, half of the girls were missing. I asked about it, and one girl said they were outside smoking weed. I figured she was joking; they all have such a weird sense of humor, this could have easily been true. I gave an awkward laugh, and she realized that I didn’t believe her. To my astonishment, the girls that I danced with fifteen hours or more a week were actually outside smoking pot, using the apples that I was planning on eating later as some sort of assistant. Great.
When I’m upset or feeling out of sorts, I like to eat. I went over to the table to find something delicious- ah ha! Brownies! I cut myself a big one and was getting ready to indulge myself when another girl started screaming at me. “You might not want to eat those,” she warned. “They’re kind of…special.”
At this point, I felt like I was in a completely different world. The little glass bubble I had lived in my entire life was being shattered, and now I was having a hard time interpreting what was truth. All I wanted was a normal, chocolate brownie, but apparently that wasn’t going to happen.
I wanted to go home so badly, but I knew that if I left they would all hate me for good and assume that I was going to rat them out to everyone (like I am unintentionally doing now…). I stuck with the girls that didn’t look like they planned on becoming high. Just then one of them broke out a bottle. They all got jumpy and leaped towards it. Alcohol, I eventually figured out. I’m guessing that you can guess where it went from here: uncontrollable girls doing things they would never do or say normally, pressuring me to follow in their irresponsible footsteps, falling over, and throwing up: the whole shebang. Thrown out of my world again, I went home.
When I saw my friends at school on the following Monday, one of them remembered I had previously had a dance line party. She asked me how it went, and I gave her a look. Not the same one as I mentioned before; this look combines a hint of terror with confusion and that feeling where you don’t even know where to begin. She understood immediately.
“That bad, huh?”
I told her about the whole thing, from the fakeness to the alcohol and drugs to the extreme discomfort I experienced.
“Did you do any of that stuff?” Her voice shook with hesitation.
“None at all,” I quickly retorted.
She responded with a smile. “Cool.”